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Our view

The illusion that we understand the past fosters overconfidence in our ability to predict the future
DANIEL KAHNEMAN – Author of Thinking, Fast and Slow

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Changing the Conversation
21st Club presents a collection of insights for football club boardrooms

Changing the Conversation

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  • 17 Sep 2020

    Measured Expectations

    Every season brings with it high hopes and expectations and this year is no different, especially for academy players looking to break through into the first team. On average, the Premier League has 26 debutants each season but what are reasonable hopes and expectations we should set on these players once they break into the […]

  • 10 Sep 2020

    Don’t waste a good mistake

    The push towards data driven decision-making demands that we base our future strategies on evidence and, as some of the biggest decisions a club makes, dealings in the transfer window are no exception. But how can we benchmark our transfer policy against other clubs’ when there are so many different factors at play? Without a […]

  • 03 Sep 2020

    The foundations of a strong league

    One of the challenges leagues outside Europe’s Big 5 face is knowing a) how to benchmark themselves against others, and b) how to benchmark themselves against where they should be. The former can be done with our World Super League ranking of leagues, but the latter requires an assessment of a wider domestic ecosystem.

    The basis […]

  • 27 Aug 2020

    One leg good, two legs bad?

    There has been discussion about whether the enforced change to one-leg ties for the Champions League knockout structure should become the new normal. The all-or-nothing games were fantastic television, so why not keep them around?

    The key difference is that one-legged ties bring greater uncertainty. For evenly-matched teams the effect of one or two legs is […]

  • 13 Aug 2020

    Wage Equilibrium

    The recent acquisition of Konstantinos Tsimikas (£12m) by Liverpool continues to demonstrate their intentions on following the smart money in the transfer market. According to our models they’ve now signed two leading full-backs, including Robertson, in European football for less than £20m. How is it possible that they’ve managed to increase Tsimikas’s annual wage more […]

  • 30 Jul 2020

    Three players too many

    Covid will put pressure on expenditure this summer, so it helps to have evidence to weigh up different cost-cutting measures. One obvious way to do this is by reducing the size of a club’s senior squad – the question is by how much?


    In the big 5 European leagues this season, there were a total of […]

  • 23 Jul 2020

    How Deportivo La Coruña bounce back

    Sixteen years ago, Deportivo La Coruña were in the Champions League semi finals; this week, they were relegated to Segunda División B, albeit in unusual circumstances. It feels like a long road back to La Liga, but the planning should start today. The big question: how fast can it realistically be done?

    The first thing to […]

  • 16 Jul 2020

    The Future of Leagues: Part II

    The Coronavirus crisis has thrown leagues under the spotlight, as key decision maker contemplate how competitions protect the health and future of the sport. We sat down with Jacco Swart (MD, European Leagues), Jeff Agoos (Senior Vice President, MLS), and Heather Cowan (Head of Women’s Football, Tottenham Hotspur) to discuss the how leagues can innovate in order to stay relevant and […]